Following a two-week respite for the top PGA Tour players, another Designated Event is on the schedule, meaning the vast majority of the top-25 players are in the field at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Wells Fargo Championship.
The event returns to Quail Hollow after skipping the 2022 version of this event while the course was readied for the Presidents Cup. Last year’s event, held at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, was won by Max Homa. The 2021 winner at Quail Hollow was Rory McIlroy, who returns to the tour for the first time since missing the cut at the Masters last month. Players are allow2023 ed to skip one Designated Event for the season; Masters winner Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are choosing to take this week off as they prepare for the PGA Championship later this month.
With the exception of the 2017 event also taking place elsewhere due to Quail Hollow hosting the PGA Championship that year, this tournament has taken place at the Charlotte course since its inception in 2003. McIlroy has been synonymous with this event, holding the course record and also being the only player to win the tournament three times. Homa is the only other two-time winner, winning at Quail Hollow in 2019 to go along with his victory in Maryland last year. Other past winners include Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, and Jason Day.
Quail Hollow went from par 70 to par 71 for the 2017 PGA Championship and remains as such today, measuring 7,538 yards. The course closes with three holes that are referred to collectively as The Green Mile. It’s a par 4-3-4 stretch that saw the field average nearly one over par for the three holes in 2021. The 494-yard par-4 18th hole saw players go +0.456 over the course of that event, making it the second-toughest par 4 on the PGA Tour that season.
McIlroy holds the course record with a 21-under 267 on the old configuration in 2015. Since the scorecard change for the 2018 event, Homa holds the record with a 15-under 269 in 2019.
Missed the cut at the Masters and then opted out of the following week’s RBC Heritage. That was the second Designated Event he missed in 2023, so it’s expected that decision will cost him around $3 million in penalties. The defending FedEx Cup champion, however, said that after the poor performance at Augusta, he was not in any condition to play at Hilton Head, saying that it would’ve been a disservice to himself and the people around him.
After taking a few weeks off, McIlroy called it a “good reset,” and he returns to a course where he’s seen plenty of success: three wins, including the last Wells Fargo played on this course in 2021 and the first win of his career in 2010. Overall, he’s finished in the top 20 in nine of the 10 tournaments he’s played in here.
Prior to the Masters disappointment, McIlroy had some decent results despite not logging a PGA Tour win in 2023, including a third-place at the WGC-Match Play and runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Patrick Cantlay (+1000)
Is coming off back-to-back top-five finishes and a top-10 at the Masters before that. He missed the cut here in his debut in 2021 but was 3-1-0 in his Presidents Cup matches in the fall.
Tony Finau (+1500)
Comes in having outdueled Jon Rahm to win the Mexico Open at Vidanta last week. He doesn’t have a great history at Quail Hollow, but a runner-up in Mexico last year springboarded him to a hot spring and summer where he won twice and racked up a bunch of top-five finishes.
Xander Schauffele (+1500)
Like Cantlay, hasn’t won yet this year but has a worst finish of 10th in his last four starts and also went 3-1-0 in his Presidents Cup matches.
Max Homa (+2000)
Always performs well at courses that suit him historically, and Quail Hollow is one of his best. He won here in 2019, won this tournament in a different locale in 2022, and also went 4-0-0 in Presidents Cup matches here.
Jordan Spieth (+2000)
Outdid Homa in the Presidents Cup, going 5-0-0 in his matches over the international team. That is his Quail Hollow highlight, and he’s also been on a strong run since February’s WM Phoenix Open, logging five top-six finishes since that event, including a playoff loss to Matt Fitzpatrick at the RBC Heritage a few weeks ago.
Not a true longshot at +2500, Jason Day likes the new configuration here. He was ninth at the 2017 PGA Championship and then won this tournament by two strokes in 2018. That was his 12th and most-recent PGA Tour win, so he’s looking to snap a five-year drought this week. While not contending for a win yet this year, he hasn’t missed a cut in 2023 with six top-10 finishes this year.
Ricky Fowler (+3000), the 2012 winner here, has had a career resurgence since late last year. He went from barely making the FedEx Cup playoffs in the 125th position last year to sitting 29th in the standings this season thanks to four top-10 finishes. Since the Farmers Insurance Open in January, he’s finished outside of the top 20 just once in eight tries.
McIlroy is one of the world’s best golfers, and we expect him to prove it this week on a course where he’s had tons of success. We also like Schauffele, Homa, Spieth, and Day.
Here are the latest odds from Jazz Sports for the PGA Tour’s 2023 Wells Fargo Championship.
|GOLFERS||ODDS TO WIN 2023 WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP|
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